I recently read that familiar scripture:

If your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and cast it from you, for it is profitable for you that one of your members should perish and not your whole body go into Gehenna.

Matthew 5:30*

I pondered that scripture for a few days, thinking about how odd it would be if my hand started causing harm of its own volition, as if it had a mind of its own. And yet, the more I thought about it, the less odd it seemed.

There are plenty of things that cause us to do something unaligned with who we are. In fact, companies purposely market to our baser natures, knowing that despite our good intentions, there is a part of ourselves that will buy the thing we don’t need, eat the thing we don’t want to eat, and do the thing we don’t want to do.

Because despite our integrity, there is an impulsivity. And what this scripture is teaching us to do, is overcome our impulsivity in favor of our integrity.

Here are a few modern versions of that ancient scripture:

If Twitter causes you to say mean things about people, delete your account.

If candy in the house forces you to binge, get rid of it.

If credit cards cause you to overspend, cancel them.

If your cell phone distracts you from in-person connection, get a flip phone.

If Instagram causes you to feel bad about yourself, delete it.

If reading about Donald Trump makes you angry, stop reading it.

If catalogs make you lust after things you can’t afford, unsubscribe.

If your television causes you to binge, get rid of it.

If driving a fancy car makes you feel superior to others, sell it.

If your mortgage will keep you in debt forever, downsize.

If your true crime podcast makes you afraid to get in your car at night, don’t listen.

If a relationship causes unhealthy behaviors, end it.

And by the way, these are just a few of the mysterious hands that might cause us to act outside of the way we’d prefer to behave. You probably have your very own set.

The question is: what are you doing that is causing harm to yourself or others? And the answer is: cut it off at the joint.

*From bibliotheca’s American Literary Version (ALV). The most literal bible translation available.